The bane of many growers, slugs and snails have long been ‘Enemy Number One’ to British gardens.
The combination of mild winters and wet weather is perfect conditions for these molluscs to thrive in. Seedlings and new growth in the spring are firm favourites to get targeted and chomped by our slimy residents.
What steps can you take to reduce the damage?
- It’s good practice to avoid planting out seedlings until they are strong enough to survive the odd attack.
- Protect vulnerable plants with cloches and sharp grits/sands or crushed eggshells around the bases to make them harder to get to.
- Promote wildlife such as birds, frogs and hedgehogs in your garden, as these are natural predators.
- Try a copper-based barrier method such as Growing Success Slug Tape or Agralan Strawberry and Hosta Mats which are said to give slugs and snails a small electric shock and send them elsewhere.
What about chemical methods?
By far the most common method of slug and snail control is the humble slug pellet. These are often misunderstood and incorrectly applied, leading to scare stories and unnecessary fear.
There are 2 common active ingredients in slug pellets – Metaldehyde and Ferric Phosphate.
|Metaldehyde||Ferric Phosphate||Liquid Metaldehyde|
|HOW TO APPLY||Scatter loosely around vulnerable plants. DO NOT PUT IN PILES! There should be at least 6 inches between each pellet. Slugs will hunt these out so apply very sparingly.||Scatter loosely around vulnerable plants. No need to pile up as this deters slugs/snails and makes pellets less effective.||Mix the recommended dose in a watering can and apply evenly to the leaves of vulnerable ornamentals and in surrounding soil. Avoid soil to be planted with edibles.|
Some further notes on Slug Pellets
When applied at the recommended rate, slug pellets are safe and highly effective. There are very few reported cases of animals dying from consuming slug pellets that have been applied according to manufacturers’ instructions. This is because Metaldehyde is generally only fatal when taken in large quantities – around a third of a 500g tube for a large sized dog.
Despite this, storage and handling of slug pellets should not be taken lightly – please ensure tubes of pellets are stored beyond reach of children and pets, and that pets are excluded from the area during application. Also good observation of pets is important, to ensure they are not ‘hunting out’ these foreign objects out of curiosity.
Pets and children MUST be seen by a physician immediately if you suspect any amount of slug pellets has been consumed.
If you’d prefer a more ‘natural’ approach to slug control, you can order a delivery of live natural parasitic nematodes, which will inhabit the soil and infect slugs, causing their deaths.
This parasite is already living in most UK gardens, so the treatment just serves to increase their numbers and tip the balance in favour of the nematodes. A treatment generally lasts around 6 weeks outdoors before the natural balance is restored.
Please enquire in-store for a leaflet and order form.
To see a full list of all our handy fact sheets click here